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Portuguese on all fronts

By Sgt. Kerensa Hardy and 1Lt Francois-Xavier Miller
First published in
SFOR Informer#107, February 21, 2001

Kiseljak & Dobol - Portuguese and Germans recently came together for a common cause.
Eight military vehicles - four bearing the German flag and four with the Portuguese flag - transported members of the German 2nd Mixed Infantry Reconnaissance Company and members of the Portuguese 2nd Platoon, Reconnaissance Squadron from Cavalry Regiment n°4.
The two countries worked together to familiarize the Portuguese with the Germans' mission. Soldiers from the Op Res will take over the German AOR while the Germans are engaged in an exercise, Joint Resolve, Feb. 25 - March 2. The Germans will join in live firing in Trebinje with a Spanish company.
"Our goal is to keep the same attitude and make sure the people feel that nothing has changed except the uniforms and the faces," said Portuguese Capt. João Santana, squadron commander.
Portuguese troops paid close attention as their German counterparts introduced them to the area they will patrol during the weakling period.
During the familiarization portion of the training, the Germans and Portuguese drove through the AOR so the Portuguese could get a sense of the area. They traveled in and around Fojnica, Kiseljak and Kresevo, which are the cities normally patrolled by the Germans. The Germans gave brief history lessons and told of significant events in each area.
"In this four-day span, the Germans taught their replacements and briefed them on all aspects of their AOR," said Capt. Renko Siegmann, 2nd Mixed Inf. Recon. Co. commander. "The Portuguese gained many benefits and learned much about the area they will patrol in just a few days.
"We will know the characteristics of the AOR, the people and their problems and all their concerns," Santana said. "We are here to help them not to create more problems," he said.
While the Cavalrymen were in Kiseljak, The 'Tigers', 3rd company from Portuguese 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion had deployed in the American Battlegroup Area of Responsibility (AOR), in Camp Dobol.
Three American companies went to Glamoc to practice shooting on Barbara Range. During this ten-day period the Op Res took over most of the battlegroup's General Framework duties in its AOR. Patrols in any part of the region, including the most remote ones, such as Bratunac, on the Serbian border, were carried out by Portuguese riflemen soldiers, along with American liaison teams for signals. "The local people were usually friendly to us," mentioned Ssgt. Jose Cardoso.
On Tuesday the 14th, as a strike from workers in Zvornik blocked the road, half an hour discussion between demonstrators and Lusitanian soldiers enabled SFOR to regain its freedom of movement in the city.
A joint weapons and vehicles display also took place on Wednesday the 15th. Soldiers could take a closer look at M1A1 Abrams and M2A2 Bradley while the Americans discovered the Portuguese Chaimites.
The Op Res, also called Task Force Echo, hardly ever stands idle. No sooner had the newcomers arrived in BiH than they were all on duty. "Some of us didn't even have enough time to unpack our luggage, but that's the way it is," confirmed Lt Col. Antonio Menezes in a broad smile.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Germany, US, Portugal
SFOR at Work